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Apr 5 / Dave Schumaker

Mystery Minerals Formed from Chicxulub Impact Crater

The American Mueseum of Natural History and the University of Chicago have teamed up to release research in the April issue of Geology, explaining how bizarre minerals formed during the asteroid impact that is thought to have killed the dinosaurs. The residue consists of sand-sized droplets of hot liquid that condensed from the vapor cloud produced by an impacting asteroid 65 million years ago. Scientists have proposed three different origins for these droplets, which scientists call “spherules.” Some researchers have theorized that atmospheric friction melted the droplets off the asteroid as it approached Earth’s surface. Still others suggested that the droplets splashed out of the Chicxulub impact crater off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula following the asteroid’s collision with Earth.

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